Congress may still be wondering whether President
Clinton should be impeached for his sexual improprieties,
but a growing number of Internet denizens and talk-radio
listeners are all but convinced he’s much worse than a
In recent months, a list of more than 80 deaths associated
directly or indirectly with Clinton has been the buzz of the
new media. In the last week alone, I estimate I have
received two dozen copies of some version of the
While such lists have been around for a long time, the
most amazing thing about them is not only how fast they
are growing — which they are — but how incomplete every
single one of them is.
For instance, not one version of the “body count” lists that
I have seen included the name of Eric L. Henderson. Yet,
everything about his remarkable death cries out for
On Feb. 25, 1997, he was shot to death while riding his
bicycle in Northeast Washington, D.C. Because he didn’t
have identification on him, he initially was listed as a John
Doe. And because the area where he died was known as an
open air drug market, those who lived near it assumed that
the victim was just another loser in a random dope deal
A few weeks later, a suspect in the shooting was arrested.
He was 15 years old, a chubby kid who stood 5 feet 5 and
weighed 200 pounds. Because he was a juvenile, his trial,
which ended in a conviction, was a confidential matter.
Eric L. Henderson was 33 when he was killed. He was a
highly regarded lawyer and investment banker, a graduate
of Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Columbia
University School of Law in New York.
His family had searched for three days before finding his
body at the D.C. morgue. Then, officials say, they pleaded
for privacy in the case.
Who was this guy? He was a young man of extraordinary
achievements, which included serving as — are you ready
for this? — a financial adviser not only to the South African
government under Nelson Mandela but also to the late
Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.
Henderson’s family members have been extremely reticent
to discuss his death. His closest friends were mortified by
the murder — officially dismissed as a nickel-and-dime
They remember him as a certified financial genius. He’d
helped put together the debt restructuring plan that saved
Parks Sausage, a black-owned company in Baltimore. He
had distinguished himself as a financial adviser to the
United States Agency for International Development and
the notorious U.S. Commerce Department. He also had
worked as an investment banking associate at Smith
Barney and PaineWebber. In 1995, he started the Onyx
Group, an investment banking firm in Washington. He
told friends that his goal in life was to create employment
opportunities for struggling young black males.
“Eric was in a position to be the next Reginald Lewis,” the
late black billionaire, said Larry Parks, a graduate of
Gonzaga High in Washington and currently senior vice
president of the Federal Home Loan Bank in San Francisco.
“He was a visionary, on the vanguard of the next phase of
the civil rights movement, which is wealth creation in the
black community. The thugs have no idea who they
Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps Henderson was killed in a
random drug deal on the seedy streets of Washington.
Perhaps he was leading a double life, as police investigators
suggest. Or maybe, just maybe, he knew too much.
It should not go unnoticed that Henderson was a financial
adviser to Ron Brown, the Commerce secretary who, until
his still mysterious death in a plane crash in Croatia, was
under investigation and about to be indicted for some of
his financial creativity. It’s also worth noting that a close
confidante to Brown, Nolanda Hill, has reported that
Brown had confronted Clinton just before his trip — telling
him, “I won’t go down alone.”
Well, he certainly did not go down alone. He went down
with a whole planeload of others, including government
officials and businessmen involved in the trade mission.
But did Brown actually die in the plane crash? Military
forensics investigators discovered a perfectly cylindrical
hole, the size of a .45-caliber round, in the top of his head.
They could find no explanation for the hole, yet his
remains were never autopsied.
That little discovery should raise questions about not only
Brown’s death, but those of others around him — most
notably, I would think, his young and gifted financial
adviser, Eric L. Henderson.
Is it time to add one more name to the growing and
staggering Clinton body count? I don’t know, but the fact
that such questions are not even raised in polite media
company is not a good sign in a supposedly free society.